Stocking up is the key to saving money on your grocery billover the long term! You want to stock up when prices are low in order to take advantage of savings and to hold you over until the item is on sale again.
However, without a plan it’s easy to get sidetracked and find yourself stocking up on something with no reason or certainty behind the purchase except that it’s a good deal. This may be more wasteful to you in the end than not being frugal at all!
The following activities will help you recognize how you shop and cook for your family and identify your family’s stock-up potential.
The place to start is in your kitchen. Grab a notebook and sit down for a few minutes to think about your family’s eating habits.
- Are you home for breakfast and lunch each day?
- Do you eat as a family or are there many different schedules and meal times?
- Do you plan your menus each week?
- Do you have freezer or shelf space (or can you easily create some) to store leftovers and stock up on frequently used foods?
The next step is to think about what you are cooking from week to week.
An easy, high-impact place to start is with dinners. Most families have 5-6 “stand-by” meals. These are the no-brainer meals you cook each month. You know your family likes them and you don’t have to follow a recipe. For us, these meals are spaghetti, turkey tacos, stuffed peppers, breakfast (for dinner!), tuna or chicken pot pie/casserole. If you are home during the day, you can add lunch and breakfast to this activity as well. Soon you will have a list of everything your family likes to eat that is stockable.
You want to figure out how much of the ingredients for your stand-by meals you need to last you through the grocery store cycles. You will see similar items on sale at the stores in your area around the same time, when they hit rock-bottom, you buy up your 3-6 month supply!
This method will save your family a bundle!! Our favorite example is for Chrissy’s spinach lasagne. This meal used to cost her family about $14 a month to make. She needed several ingredients that were a little pricey (cheeses, pasta, sauce and spices). After making her stock up list she realized the ONLY item she couldn’t stock up on was cottage cheese. Everything else was either shelf-stable for several months (or even years) or was freezable for several months. After using the stock method in conjunction with buying at rock-bottom she was able to get the cost down to less than $5 a month!
Now you have a stock-up list! You can use this list in conjunction with the grocery store deals (we cover most of country here at the Grocery Gathering) to get the lowest possible price on these items saving you hundred’s of dollars each year!
To learn how to save tons of money and time by planning take our workshop on the fundamental of planning. Click here for more information.